New Hampshire publishes on a State Web site the prices charged by hospitals in the State, and President Donald Trump is working up an Executive Order that would, with some differences in breadth (including information on the prices negotiated with insurers), make the practice a nationwide one.
Price transparency is a Critical Item in controlling—bringing down—the cost of health care, but it’s only part of the story. A measure of cost transparency would be useful, too, not only for the consumer, but for governments as they look for (non-subsidy, non-tax) ways to further price competition.
The Wall Street Journal recounted one such example and a (partial, I say) solution in Benedic Ippolito’s (of the American Enterprise Institute) Tuesday op-ed.
The example was a man with a broken jaw who was transported, unconscious, to a hospital ER for treatment. The hospital turned out to be in his medical insurance network, but the treating surgeon turned out not to be. The latter’s bill was for $8,000, which the insurer refused to pay. The man was unaware of that fee until after the treatment had been effected.
Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I [sic], VT) has the canonical version of Medicare for All; the other Progressive-Democrat candidates have only slightly varied versions of it. Here’s Sanders on his Next Big Idea for health care provision and health care coverage:
You will have a card which has Medicare on it, you’ll go to any doctor that you want, you’ll go to any hospital that you want.
Right. Been there, done that. Both claims were straight up lies then, too. There is a major difference, though, between Sanders’ two lies and ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) two lies: Sanders would make private insurance illegal—both the selling and the possessing. That, though, only potentiates the power of Sanders’ lies.
Here is another failure of the VA to take care of our veterans as they are charged to do, and as the VA’s motto promises they’ll do. Here is another casual dishonor of that promise [emphasis added].
More than 1,000 Department of Veterans Affairs patients in Kansas didn’t get proper follow-up care after initial colonoscopies last year, a problem that was addressed only after a whistleblower repeatedly reported it, according to a government watchdog.
The watchdog found patients didn’t get follow-up screenings on time and when they did, often didn’t get the results in a timely manner because of [a string of excuses].
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Professor and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute, Robert Pollin, had a thought on this.
Of course, so do I.
Pollin opened his tract with this:
All Americans would be able to get care from their chosen providers without having to pay premiums, deductibles or copayments.
No, we’ve already seen the lie in this. We experienced the broken, falsely presented promise with the sales job on Obamacare and the oft-repeated lie that if we liked our doctor, we could keep him and the associated lie of lower premiums.
And the widening gyre may be dissipating, finally.
Recall that a Federal judge in the 5th Appellate district ruled rump Obamacare unconstitutional because the tax imposed on not having health insurance was rescinded and the law had no severability clause—making the law itself an unconstitutional demand that private citizens buy something they did not want.
An outcome of this is feared by the NLMSM and Progressive-Democrats to be
particular disruption within the industry as no replacement system would be put in place.
Now it’s pro-infanticide. That’s the position of the Progressive-Democratic Party after Party Senators voted—unanimously—to kill a bill that would have outlawed immediately post-birth infanticide.
Senator Ben Sasse’s (R, NE) bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would have required doctors to work to save a baby’s life if an abortion attempt failed and the baby was born alive despite the attempt. All Progressive-Democrat Senators, every single one of them, voted to kill the bill and thereby to let abortion doctors finish killing the baby.
As Sasse put the situation after those Progressive-Democrat Senators had had their way,
The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds. Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.
Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong. Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that
Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one. They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses. Their expansion consists of two parts:
permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.
Here’s an illustration of why one is badly needed. The Wall Street Journal‘s article is centered on health coverage plans, but the underlying problem is in health care provision and the monopolistic nature of both provision and coverage.
Last year, Cigna Corp and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.
The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian, according to the people.